Construction robots marching onto job sites


Click to run

It has long been impractical to deploy robots at construction sites, because the environment is so varied, complex, and changing. In the past few years however, advances including low-cost laser sensors, cheaper robotic arms and grippers, and open source software for navigation and computer vision have made it possible to automate and analyze more construction…

Kevin Albert, cofounder and CEO of Canvas, previously worked at Boston Dynamics, a company famous for its lifelike walking robots, and in the manufacturing industry. He says there’s great opportunity in construction, which generates about $1.4 trillion annually and accounts for around 7 percent of US GDP but has seen relatively little use of computerization and automation. “We really see construction as mobile manufacturing,” he says. “There’s this natural extension of what machines are now capable of out in the real world.”…

An IDC report published in January 2020 forecasts that demand for construction robots will grow about 25 percent annually through 2023.

RTFA. Lots of interesting details, discussion of the range of directions this process is taking. It doesn’t appear to me there yet is a predominant system or approach. Given growth predictions, there will be some shaking-out happening along with the growth predicted for the next couple of years.

China beat the coronavirus with science and strong public health measures


By Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University

My research suggests that the control of the virus in China is not the result of authoritarian policy, but of a national prioritization of health. China learned a tough lesson with SARS, the first coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century.

Barely less than a year ago, a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, with 80,000 cases identified within three months, killing 3,000 people.

In late January 2020, the Chinese government decided to lock down this city of 11 million people. All transportation to and from the city was stopped. Officials further locked down several other cities in Hubei Province, eventually quarantining over 50 million people.

By the beginning of April, the Chinese government limited the spread of the virus to the point where they felt comfortable opening up Wuhan once again.

Seven months later, China has confirmed 9,100 additional cases and recorded 1,407 more deaths due to the coronavirus. People in China travel, eat in restaurants and go into theaters, and kids go to school without much concern for their health. Juxtapose that to what we are experiencing in the U.S. To date, we have confirmed over 11 million cases, with the last 1 million recorded in just the last one week alone.

Affirmation in detail of modern public health measures producing the best economic results…as well as saving a heck of a lot more lives than the piecemeal failure we’re still going through in the United States.

12 Million Lose Jobless Benefits The Day After Xmas


Todd Anderson is one of them

The day after Christmas, millions of Americans will lose their jobless benefits, according to a new study. And that could spell financial ruin for many people, like 44-year-old Todd Anderson in the small town of Mackinaw City, Mich…

His $362 a week in unemployment benefits is barely enough to live on. So he’s been selling off his belongings to try to get by — some cabinets he had, a pair of hiking boots. “I sold tools, tools of my trade,” he says. “I sold hoping that I can re-buy them as I get on my feet.”

Millions of people all over the country are living similarly close to the edge.

Solutions require action by Congress and the schmuck in the White House. The latter is already out of a job; so, he’ll continue to be worthless. Public pressure can be meaningful…especially on those members of Congress facing challengers, next year.

Asia forms world’s biggest trade bloc — “U.S. being left behind”


Kham/Reuters

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said on Monday it was concerned the United States was being left behind after 15 Asia-Pacific economies on Sunday formed the world’s largest free-trade bloc, cementing China’s dominant role in regional trade…

RCEP covers 30% of the global economy and 30% of the global population, joining for the first time Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea. It aims in coming years to progressively lower tariffs across many areas.

The United States is absent from both RCEP and the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), leaving the world’s biggest economy out of two trade groups that span the world’s fastest-growing region.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce serves as the conservative voice of the most reactionary and out-of-date elements of corporate America. The absurdity of advocating for separatism from trade organizations while acknowledging this diminishes opportunity and ease of doing business with the leading segment of the world’s economy is sillier than the crap still exuded by the Republican Party. The Chamber tries to hide this behind their stuffy traditions.

Asia-Pacific countries form world’s largest trading bloc


VNA

Fifteen countries have formed the world’s largest trading bloc, covering nearly a third of the global economy.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand…

Negotiations over the RCEP began in 2012. The deal was signed on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), hosted by Vietnam…

India was also part of the negotiations, but it pulled out last year over concerns that lower tariffs could hurt local producers…Signatories of the deal said the door remained open for India to join in the future…

Members of the RCEP make up nearly a third of the world’s population and account for 29% of global gross domestic product.

I left out the BBC commentary. Predictably, the Brits’ noses are out of joint over this.

The GOUSA wasn’t invited.

Chevy’s gonna offer an EV crate engine…Woo-hoo!


’77 Chevy Blazer electric restomod

SEMA is going virtual this year, and one of the cars that Chevrolet will show off will be a 1977 K5 Blazer—called the Blazer-E—that previews the company’s new eCrate aftermarket powertrain. The build team traded the Blazer’s huge 6.6L V8, with its meagre 175hp (130kW), for the 200hp (150kW) motor from the Bolt EV, which connects to the Blazer’s four-wheel drive system via a four-speed auto that replaces the original three-speed transmission…

The fuel tank and exhaust also went in the recycling bin, and a 60kWh lithium-ion battery pack was mounted in the Blazer’s cargo area. This is also from the Bolt EV and includes all the wiring and power electronics one needs to manage a modern battery EV powertrain.

The really cool thing is that Chevrolet has now confirmed that it will sell a crate electric powertrain to the aftermarket the same way it sells crate internal combustion engines.

Given what you can built for less money and more power, hotrodders with geek cred should be cranking out some new generation electric bowtie torque real soon now.

Grocers prepare for a 2nd wave of panic buying – you should, too…

Remember those long lines and bare shelves?

The hoarding began slowly in spring as forward-thinking shoppers snapped up masks and hand sanitizer. But once Americans realized the pandemic was serious, they emptied stores of just about everything, from toilet paper to canned soup.

With an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases this fall, panic buying could return as worries of a second lockdown spread. Retailers say they’re already seeing the signs and are hopeful they’ll be ready.

Useful article. None of this affected my wife and me much. We’re hermits, anyway. At least by American standards. We go to town once a week…couple hours round trip to two grocers.

We have always maintained backups for dry goods, favorite canned goods. That’s what pantries are for. I grew up on the New England coast. I love all quality-canned seafood.